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May 5, 2017

Book Review: A Bottle in the Gaza Sea by Valérie Zenatti

A Bottle in the Gaza Sea by Valérie Zenatti
Published April 1st 2008 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
I'm full of fear and full of hope writing to you like this. I've never written to someone I didn't know. It feels strange. I don't know if what I'm doing is good or bad, crazy or just eccentric, useful or pointless.

When Israeli teenager Tal Levine decides to throw a bottle with a letter into the Gaza Sea, she has little idea what to expect. Against all odds, Tal longs to strike up a correspondence with someone on the other side -- to forge something positive out of the turbulent and troubled times in which Israelis and Palestinians live. But what kind of response might a Palestinian give to an Israeli girl? Tal is not expecting "Gazaman," the boy who retrieves her bottle on a Gaza beach: Gazaman, a thorny, sarcastic young man with a reluctance to reveal anything about his true identity; Gazaman, who at first mocks Tal, only to be gradually drawn in by her. A remarkable e-mail exchange begins, which shakes the beliefs of both to the core and confounds all their expectations.
I loved A Bottle in the Gaza Sea by author Valérie Zenatti. It has been one of the best books I've read lately, and I'm surprised I liked it so much. It's the story of Israeli teenager Tal, who wonders if it's only her side that wants peace. So she writes a letter hoping to find a Palestinian girl to email and prove that they can be friends.

It's a short book, half of it are emails written by Tal and 'Gazaman', her Palestinian friend. The author managed to create very realistic characters, and to show us both sides of this war. The pain, the injustices, but also how people still believe and want something better...

Before reading this book, if you asked me what was really the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians I wouldn't have known what to answer. I'm not an expert now, but after reading this book I finally understand the basics.

I was expecting a sad ending, as most of these war books are, but I was surprised with an abrupt, but positive ending. Maybe proving that even in the worst circumstances, you can do great things. It's a young adult story, but the characters and the topic of the story is much more mature, maybe that's why I liked it so much.

Overall, I think it's a book everyone should read. A Bottle in the Gaza Sea totally recommended!


  1. The challenge about what is going on in Israel is that it is so hard for both sides to communicate. It sounds like this book is very informative, and also represents culture well. I want to read it now too.